The Yelm Farmers Market is back at Yelm City Park and will offer fresh produce and products from small businesses that will be geared for children and adults alike from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. every Saturday, from May 25 to Oct. 26.
“We’re really going to be focusing on kids activities,” said Jon Jamieson, manager of the market. “Especially with the new splash park coming behind it. We are looking forward to that.”
He said while kids activities have been valued in the past, this year the market will have a specific program for the little ones.
“We are actually going to be having somebody that’s going to be helping coordinate our POP program — that’s Power of Produce program,” Jamieson said. “She’ll also help run kids activities. Last year I felt that we kind of lacked in that, so the main thing to focus on this year is getting children more involved and coming out and being active.”
Kayla Blanch, POP program manager for the Yelm Farmers Market, said that the POP program will get the kiddos involved with the market and also teach them money-handling skills.
“The POP program is to excite kids about making healthier choices but also giving them the responsibility of choosing,” Blanch said in an email. “So they get $2 a week in tokens and vendors will have special things they can purchase (items at a cheaper cost) or they can choose to save their tokens up to buy bigger items.”
Jameson said the kids will also be the beneficiaries of possible kid-friendly demonstrations, pumpkin carving scenarios, rock painting and other hands-on activities as the seasons progress.
The POP program will also teach kids about the benefits of living healthily and supporting the local economy, which according the Jamieson is what the market is all about.
“The overall goal and mission of the market is to help local small businesses and local small-business owners bring their hand-made products to an event and be able to share them with the community,” he said. “As a farmer’s market, we have to be 80 percent made by the person, so it allows local, small companies to actually sell their products and let the surrounding area know what’s available and what your neighbor’s making.”
This year, the market’s kitchen will feature food from Masonry Cafe, The Cattleman and Steele Barrel Barbecue on a variety of market weekends.
Folks will get to peruse fresh fruit and produce, locally-sourced honey, fragrant flowers as well as handmade wooden products, to name a few.
“I think there’s a lot of people that don’t come out to the farmers markets because they’re not sure what’s there,” Jamieson said. “I think they really need to experience local products, instead of going out and buying corporate, mass-produced products and come see what a local handmade, crafted product looks like.”
At the market, vendors can sell their products for whatever they want, and the market takes a portion to cover overhead costs.
While Jamieson said he wishes he could mention all the vendors that will be at the farm, Reed’s Sweet Wine, Kenlee Produce and Mari’s Farm are definitely favorites to look for.
This year, the market will share space with the Seattle to Portland Classic bicycle race, Prairie Days and the Yelm Area Chamber of Commerce’s Barbecue Rally.
In addition, Heidi Smith, board member of Bounty for Families, which oversees Yelm Farmers Market, said the market is a great opportunity for folks to interact with those who actually planted and harvested the food they are buying.
“I think what it does for the community is, for one, it provides a place for fresh produce and things coming directly from people’s farms,” she said. “…You can go to the coop, but you can interact with the people who grew the food at the farmers market.”
She added that the second reason that people should enjoy the market is it’s a great place for folks to shop for items made by local artisans, those who create one-of-a-kind products in the area.
Ultimately, Jamieson said a person has to experience the Yelm Farmers Market to truly understand what it offers.
“Come check it out,” he said. “Come experience it. Come feel it, hear the noises. You know, it’s a one-of-a-kind thing.”